Strokes members Albert Hammond Jr and Julian Casablancas have gone head to head with their new album releases. Hammond’s album Francis Trouble (reviewed here) delivered an entertaining set of tracks that never ventured too far from the sound that made him famous. But as Hammond sticks to his garage rock roots, Julian Casablancas’s The Voidz seemingly want to try every sound at least once on their new album Virtue.
The opening Leave It in My Dreams eases listeners in with the most conventional song on the album. Thanks to Casablancas’s signature growl, it could very well be mistaken for a Strokes hit. Convention comes to a dead stop as soon as this track ends however. Fans of The Voidz will understand what they’re in store for but new listeners may be perplexed. Following the entertaining to some, bizarre for all 2014 debut Tyranny, The Voidz have smoothed out their sound, albeit slightly, in an attempt to make themselves more user friendly.
The second track QYURRYUS is the album’s filter for people expecting a Strokes album. The song has synth bass lines, a Middle Eastern melody and extensive use of auto-tune. It must be heard to be admired as it delivers a genuinely catchy, haunting beat. QYURRYUS also marks the difference between Virtue and Tyranny. Virtue tries new things, but not to the point of being a mess.
From there Pyramid of Bones offers a heavily distorted guitar riff reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man while remaining true to the electro garage punk sound the Voidz are developing. The metal sound returns later in the album in Black Hole, only this time even heavier. At times the album borders on noise rock that won’t win over many new listeners but is sure to entertain a specific group of rock fans. That said, the more decibel friendly Think Before You Drink and Lazy Boy gives listeners time to relax their ears in between the more eclectic tracks.
With greater success than Tyranny, The Voidz offer an interesting and experimental album, genuinely worth listening to if you’ve ever enjoyed any of Casablancas’s work. At the very least, no one can deny that the album is incredibly interesting.